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How can this be legal? TxDOT speed cameras using FEDERAL money

Discussion in 'Legal' started by CanonNinja, Jun 12, 2007.

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  1. CanonNinja

    CanonNinja Member

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    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/18/1800.asp


    How can this be legal!? Opposition by the state legislature, and using FEDERAL money?!
     
  2. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    It is legal because there is no law preventing it. The current laws only prevent municipalities from doing this. TxDOT is a state agency and isn't prohibited by that law. TxDOT was apparently smart enough to wait until the legislature had ended the session to propose this... since the Texas legislature meets every two years, this means that they won't get slapped down for awhile.

    Since they are relying on federal funds, they don't need funds from the state legislature approving this.
     
  3. Kentak

    Kentak Member

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    Federal grants to local law enforcement isn't new, is it? That's been going on for decades.
     
  4. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    Not that I would recommend anything illegal but are these cameras in urban or rural areas? It would be a real shame if some less than scrupulous low life types were to vandalize and render these inoperable.....repeatedly.


    Civil disobedience can sometimes be hard on the equipment.
     
  5. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    The first thing that came to mind while I was reading the article was "How long will it take for someone to get mad about a ticket, and shoot out the cameras?"
     
  6. Elza

    Elza Member

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    Funny, isn’t it? Speed laws (and traffic laws in general) are always touted as “making the roads a safer place”. Yet all they talk about is the money to be made by people breaking the laws?

    Kind of reminds me of the evils of smoking yet look at all of tax money it brings in.
     
  7. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    Bingo. Traffic laws have absolutely nothing to do with safety, they are purely a revenue generation scheme.

    If the state truly cared about public safety, they'd revoke the drivers licenses of the 75 year old grandmas and grandpas that poke along at 45 mph in a 70 mph zone.
     
  8. Elza

    Elza Member

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    Bite your tongue! Those folks VOTE! And, they have the great and wonderful AARP on their side. :barf:
     
  9. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

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    You know what sucks about the so called automated camera systems?

    They are not so automated and require more human interaction that just a patrol car and a single officer witnessing the violation.

    Camera System: The camera itself and a technician to maintain it and calibrate it, a person to monitor them 24/7 and download the video to digital every 12 hours AND a cop who must sit for hours and watch each and every violation then have your tag run, write out the ticket-- TO THE CAR OWNER, NOW NOT THE DRIVER and turn it over to the court clerk who must mail it out to you.

    Old Fashion Patrol Car System: The Patrol Car and the Officer operating the car, witnesses the violation, makes the stop, issues the citation to the DRIVER-- NOT THE CAR OWNER, goes back in service.

    Which one seems more efficient?
     
  10. aquapong

    aquapong Member

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    They really should call it what it is...Automated Revenue Generation System.
     
  11. Caimlas

    Caimlas Member

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    Federalist - per my understanding of these cameras, that's not how they work at all.

    They take (say) 30 shots per second when motion is detected. Process that data and extrapolate speed of the car via distance traveled per frame using digital shape recognition software and/or distance sensors. Send potential violator's photos and photo information (time of photo, anything else automatically extracted from the cameras, etc.) to contracted processing center where someone verifies the images were processed correctly, and then prints and posts the ticket directly to your door (at least that's the way they work here.)
     
  12. BobTheTomato

    BobTheTomato Member

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    How is i legal? Easy! You are in your car which means interstate commerce so the feds can regulate it.
     
  13. LawBot5000

    LawBot5000 Member

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    Texas is a lot less crowded than the UK. Those cameras will be debris within a week. They will either have to put the cameras into built up areas or they will have to get used to people taking them down.

    And some of you are wrong about how these cameras work. They set them apart on the freeway and measure your average speed along the entire stretch. In other words, you can't figure out where the cameras are and slow down for them. If you speed at all, even slightly, they will detect it and give you a ticket. Unless your speedometer is very very accurate, you have to drive very slow to avoid getting a ticket. Set the speed limit low enough and you can send almost everyone a ticket.

    IMO, the best medicine for this is to deal with the bureaucrat who came up with the idea. I mean, it isn't a state secret who runs the Texas department of transportation. People should register their displeasure with him. I'm sure even a sustained letter writing campaign would come as a total shock.
     
  14. Titan6

    Titan6 member

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    I don't think that these will last. Putting another layer between LEOs and society is the wrong way to go anyway. A patrol officer can determine when a warning is appropriate and when a ticket is. A patrol officer can also make take actions during a stop that may prevent another crime that a ticket in the mail a month later will not do. If there is anywhere that we need more traffic stops ElPaso would be it.
     
  15. LawBot5000

    LawBot5000 Member

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    Mentioning El Paso reminded me of something. The other problem with this is that it produces the exact opposite effect from what should be desired. If a car full of illegal immigrants is pulled over, they should be arrested and deported. If they are caught by the speed cameras they wont get a ticket because no one will know where to send it. This will weigh heaviest upon truckers and upon law abiding citizens.
     
  16. Birukun

    Birukun Member

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    Gotta spend those Department of Homeland Security grants somehow!

    Oh, and I guess later, when they are connected to the centralized database (think Minority Report) then we can track everyone too! What a neat side effect!

    Bill in SD
     
  17. springmom

    springmom Member

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    Those things will be rendered inoperable within a week. In the cities, the red light cameras are pretty safe, because they're up high, and right out where nobody can get to them without being obvoius. But on the highway? Ha.

    Springmom
     
  18. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    TxDOT is supposed to be in the business of building and maintaining roads, not enforcing laws. And this money reduces the amount of construction/maintenance funds.

    I figure that locals will figure out where these cameras are, and the loss rate will upset some of those Austin bureaucrats...

    Art
     
  19. Daniel T

    Daniel T Member

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    I don't know. Was there a loss of any of the cameras in Marble Falls? The locals there are just as apt to be the kind that get rid of the cameras as those in El Paso or the unfortunates in College Station.
     
  20. thegriz

    thegriz Member

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    Doesn't the freedom of information act cover that? They may have to provide that information when requested because of the law. It could easily be posted to a website, maybe even with GPS coordinates.

    What I want to know is whether all the cops and officials get a free pass. If nobody is exempted I will hate the system but I will take satisfaction from EVERYBODY being treated the same (well, except for criminals who drive without license or drive stolen vehicles).
     
  21. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Member

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    Can't remeber where exactly I saw it but there is a website out there showing all the damaged "yellow vultures" in the UK. Quite impressive.
     
  22. dracphelan

    dracphelan Member

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    This is another reason that I agree with a suggestion I heard a police officer make over a decade ago. He wanted to eliminate speed limits on highways and just have reckless driving. If you are moving with the flow of traffic, no problem. If you were in the middle of nowhere on a in perfect weather with no cars on the road and wanted to 110mph, no problem. It would only be when you are driving at such a speed (to low or high) that a reasonable person would consider the driving hazardous would you be pulled over.
    I remember a road trip between Amarillo and Oklahoma City. A friend was driving and we got passed like we were standing still by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. We looked at the speedometer and we were going so fast that the needle was pointing at D2 on the gear shift. The speedometer went to 120. We laughed and slowed down.
     
  23. modifiedbrowning

    modifiedbrowning Member

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    dracphelan, it used to be like that here in Montana. Unfortunately it was before I moved here.
     
  24. Elza

    Elza Member

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    I ran across this as well. Our U.K. brethren got rather 'inventive' in way the cameras were dispatched. :)

    Here is a link to one report. http://www.speedcam.co.uk/gatso2a.htm

    Do a search for "U.K. traffic camera destruction" and a bunch will show up
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2007
  25. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

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    Just so we can make this gun-related.....what rifle/scope combination would be good for hunting speeding/stoplight cameras?.... :D
     
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